The rise of the machines has IT decision-makers stumped: Study

  • Security, funding constraints and lack of knowledge cited
  • But adoption well underway or being planned for
The rise of the machines has IT decision-makers stumped: Study

INVESTMENT in intelligent business systems and automation is well underway across the globe, but IT decision-makers are finding it difficult to assess the full extent of the risks, challenges and threats they pose, according to a study.
Security concerns (33%), funding constraints (30%) and lack of knowledge (24%) were all identified as areas of worry and named as primary obstacles to adoption and use, IT management software company Ipswitch said in a statement, citing an independent study conducted by analyst firm Freeform Dynamics.
For example, 20% of respondents said increased ‘noise’ on the network is making it harder to detect malicious activity, with automated or bot access to APIs (application programming interfaces) causing system and application issues, and also creating unexpected security exposures.
When questioned further, 68% of respondents confessed their current network security and access management capabilities were already inadequate or needed strengthening to cope with new intelligent machines, while 72% revealed network traffic monitoring and analysis capabilities also required reinforcing.
Also, 72% of respondents said the same applied to their file and document level security, and access management systems and protocols.

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Looking to the future, the survey revealed IT professionals were also concerned about how to counter the potential impact of intelligent systems activity – including external third-party bots, agents and Internet-connected ‘things’ – on enterprise networks and infrastructures.
“Organisations are harnessing the transformative powers of intelligent systems to gain competitive advantage,” said Freeform Dynamics distinguished analyst Tony Lock.
“But IT decision-makers recognise that while a force for good, these technologies also expose the enterprise to new internal and external risk vectors.
“As the pace of adoption increases, there will be no escaping the impact of intelligent systems on the enterprise – regardless whether or not organisations directly invest in such technologies,” he added.
The Freeform Dynamics survey, sponsored by Ipswitch, examines the attitudes and readiness of IT decision-makers with regard to intelligent machines and business systems (machines with decision-making and learning capabilities).
The top current application deployment areas cited by respondents include digital customer engagement systems (55%), process automation and workflow systems (52%), and automated risk monitoring and management solutions (50%).
The research also found that:

  • 45% have adopted intelligent IoT (Internet of Things) platforms and services, with 34% saying these technologies are on the agenda;
  • 42% are utilising autonomous apps and bots, and 32% say they plan to do so;
  • 45% are using cognitive computing and inference engines and a further 30% are looking to deploy in the near future;​ and
  • 40% are using complex event processing (CEP) technology and a further 34% plan to soon (click infographic below to enlarge).
The rise of the machines has IT decision-makers stumped: Study

“IT professionals should approach intelligent machines with their eyes wide open,” said Ipswitch chief marketing officer Jeff Loeb.
“As network managers grow more confident with intelligent systems, they will become increasingly willing to tackle more complex applications.
“However, they need to ensure they have the right tools in place to enable intelligent systems and support the IT team to manage the impact of internal and external intelligent automation effectively,” he added.
The online survey was conducted with 521 IT decision-makers (IT manager/director, IT security specialist, IT professional) in Australia, France, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Respondents were drawn from organisations ranging in size from 100-5000+ employees and operating in a range of vertical markets.
The full report, titled Intelligent Systems in Action: The Rise of the Machines Has Already Begun, is available here (PDF).
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